The defining geopolitical contest of the twenty-first century is between China and the US. But is it avoidable? And if it happens, is the outcome already inevitable?
China and America are world powers without serious rivals. They eye each other warily across the Pacific; they communicate poorly; there seems little natural empathy. A massive geopolitical contest has begun.
America prizes freedom; China values freedom from chaos.
America values strategic decisiveness; China values patience.
America is becoming society of lasting inequality; China a meritocracy.
America has abandoned multilateralism; China welcomes it.
Kishore Mahbubani, a diplomat and scholar with unrivalled access to policymakers in Beijing and Washington, has written the definitive guide to the deep fault lines in the relationship, a clear-eyed assessment of the risk of any confrontation, and a bracingly honest appraisal of the strengths and weaknesses, and superpower eccentricities, of the US and China.